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Case Study: “Give a Veteran a Piece of the (Miller) High Life”

By Aug 22, 2011

Miller High Life is in its second year running a summer promotion to convert competitive brand drinkers, have some fun with loyalists and improve the lives of veteran soldiers. It works in partnership with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to donate up to $1 million in cash and experiences for veterans and their families. The program, handled by PROMO 100 agency Team Enterprises, is sold in to both off- and on-premise accounts in June and executed throughout July and August.

HOW IT WORKS: For every specially marked Miller High Life and Miller High Life Light bottle cap or can tab from the purchases of 12-packs of beer Miller High Life donates 10 cents to help “Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life.” The caps are returned to the stores where the beer was purchased and dropped into Miller High Life branded boxes or bottles or mailed in. The distributors collect the caps, weigh them and report the weight to Miller. Distributor incentive programs—truckloads of beer, truck wraps and visits from spokesman Windell Middlebrooks the character truck driver for Miller High Life—create enthusiasm for store sell-ins.

THE FIRST YEAR: The promotion launched off-premise nationally in summer 2010 primarily at grocery and convenience stores (mostly chains to ensure the best communication between the stores). A small number of targeted on-premise experiential events were held in Charlotte, NC, and Knoxville, TN, where representatives from Team Enterprises kick started a party, passing out samples of beer and explaining the program.

“We flooded the bars with full-bottle samples,” Heather Moore Johnston, MillerCoors account Southeast Division Manager for Team Enterprises, said.

THE MARKETING: National ads featuring Windell. The story line in one ad depicts the theme throughout the ad campaign: He visits a VIP box at a baseball game only to find that the group is not truly living the High Life so he takes away their beers and delivers them down to the stands to the fans who he says are really living the High Life.

THE RESULTS: $1M in cash and experiences went to providing thousands of veterans with entertaining experiences like tickets to sporting events, concerts and outdoor adventures. Brand awareness increases, as did sales and volume.

THE SECOND YEAR: The promotion rolled out again nationally this year in grocery and convenience stores. Due to the success of the on-premise promotions last year, efforts were doubled to include accounts in Charlotte, NC, Raleigh, NC, Knoxville, TN, New Orleans, LA, Baton Rouge, LA, Albuquerque, NM, Jacksonville, FL, Tampa, FL, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, FL and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX.

“We put more energy and focus into on-premise, especially in southeast where there is a heavy military presence,” Moore Johnston said. “Activation managers from Team Enterprises set up displays, table tents and posters. We train the wait staff and bring in iPads loaded with videos from last year of veterans who benefited from the program to share with customers.”

The brand reps outfits, Kahaki-colored dresses, were updated to a more 1950’s “pin-up” look, topped off with military-style hats and heavier makeup.

THE MARKETING: Similar to year one with a dedicated Facebook page.

THE EARLY RETURNS: The experiential marketing overlay in key markets is expected to reach about 30% more consumers than last year's program, and overall consumer and retailer support of the program is expected to generate increased awareness, sales and volume trends, as it did last year.

“When you leave behind a display and a poster you really don’t know how people are responding to it, but when a rep is there explaining the program and converting beer drinkers that’s where we really see the repeat purchase,” Moore Johnston said.